Understanding FERPA

In 1974, Congress passed a bill called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to protect student educational records. This law, also known as the Buckley Amendment, gives students certain rights concerning their academic information, including the fact that information in their educational records will be kept confidential, disclosed only with permission or under the provisions of the law. In high school, the FERPA rights belong to the student’s guardian(s) until the student graduates or turns 18, but in college the FERPA rights transfer to the student, regardless of age or dependency.


Under the law, directory information is considered to be public knowledge. This includes:

  • Student’s name
  • Address
  • Telephone number (Campus and home)
  • Email address (Campus and home)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Field of study
  • Participation in recognized activities and sports
  • Degrees and honors
  • Dates of attendance

Any student who would like to file a request to withhold his/her directory information from public use would do so in writing within the first seven calendar days of any academic term with the Office of Admissions and Records.


Under the law, educational records cannot be disclosed. Educational records are records that are directly related to a student and that are maintained by an educational agency or institution or a party acting for or on behalf of the agency or institution. These include, but are not limited to:

Grades – Student course schedules – Transcripts – Student financial information – Class lists – Student discipline files

Over the years, the Community has found that there are some forms of information that parents would like access to that are not considered directory information such as grades, billing, and financial aid information. Therefore, Texas Southmost Community College will not release student information without the student’s permission. Texas Southmost College has two suggestions for parents who want to obtain this information:

a) Ask your student for the information, and/or
b) Have your student file a FERPA Waiver of Privacy form
with the Admissions and Records Office.

For more information, consult the U.S. Department of Education’s website on FERPA.